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Between our garden and our CSA, we have so much kale that I serve it at least once a day.  Saturday was a record because I had a kale smoothie for breakfast and a kale salad for lunch.  I think kale is a magical substance because I don’t get hungry after I eat it.  During the week I can drink a kale smoothie for lunch and I don’t get hungry until dinner.

 

 

Since this is the time of year when everyone has too much kale, I give you my five favorite recipes interspersed with pictures of Ava because I forget to take pictures of the food.

(1) Kale Feta Bread

Jon found this recipe.  It is amazing!  It’s quick, it’s delicious, and it uses a nice amount of kale.  Instead of shredding the kale by hand, I recommend using a food processor.  I tried coconut flour instead of the wheat flour (and what else are you going to use coconut flour for?), and it tasted equally good.

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(2) Kale Black Bean and Burrito Bowl

Everything about this dish is amazing: the kale, the avocado salsa verde.  I’ve eaten it wrapped up in a flour tortilla or as different dishes on a plate.

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(3) Kale Quinoa Salad

There are so many variations of the kale quinoa salad and they are all delicious.  This one is great because of all the vegetables.  I also like recipes with a vinaigrette mixed in.

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(4) Kale Avocado Salad

This may be the first kale recipe I ever prepared.  It’s so good and easily modifiable.  You can skip the tomatoes.  I’ve never tried it with nori, but I regularly add toasted pine nuts.

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(5) Kale Apple Salad

A lot of people are scared of kale so the recipes involve using lemon, like in the previous recipe, to soften the kale leaves.  This recipe is great because it embraces the bitterness.

I don’t use the pancetta in this recipe and I only use radicchio if it’s convenient.  Since both kale and radicchio are bitter, I think the radicchio is more about making a visually pleasing salad than the flavor.

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Mount Olivet Cemetery

We took Ava to the cemetery to look at the deer.  Our timing was great because they had two fawns.

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Ava liked the deer, but she was a lot more interested in trying to get underneath the cement in these long cement tubes that are used to divert snow runoff from the mountains.  She was really mad that we wouldn’t let her get under there.  We discussed how we would explain to CPS why we took a baby to a cemetery and let her get stuck in the cement.

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This picture cracks me up because it reminds me of those silly poses that models make.

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Busy Weekend

This girl never stops going.  Today we  went to the Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum for 2.5 hours.  Ava had so much fun.  They have a lot of play stations that teach difference concepts.  She really enjoyed these interlocking pieces that you could make spin, two different magnet stations, and the long hallways that she could crawl along while yelling.  It’s always nice to go somewhere and not have you worry about your baby disturbing people.

 

Jon and I were exhausted after the trip but Ava went home and had a wrestling session with us.  She pulls herself to standing while we’re laying down and jumps on us.  I don’t know how she does it.

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Ava also has quiet times where she doesn’t want to be disturbed.  Around 9:30 every morning she wants to read her books and she doesn’t want you to bother her.  I’m starting to get “the look” when I take pictures during that time so I need to stop bothering her.

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It’s not all serious, though.  Sometimes she enjoys being disturbed.

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Ava Is 14 Months Old

When we take Ava to the park, I like to find babies of similar age to see how similar they are to Ava.  Ava tends to tower over them.  She’s bigger than a lot of the two-year olds.

Independence/Motor Skills

  • Ava isn’t walking yet, but she gets closer every day.  She really prefers to be standing because it helps her get into things.  If she’s not aware of what’s happening, she can stand without assistance for a few seconds.  Mostly she leans on things.
  • I keep thinking this will be the month she’ll start to walk, but I especially think so this month.  Her downward dog is a little different now because she likes to rest her head on the floor and stare at you while she’s upside down.

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  • Ava has been kissing people and human-like animals in books for awhile (including monsters in a Star Trek Book of Opposites), but now she’s also kissing animals in the books.  She particularly likes to kiss sea lions.
  • In her continual desire for greater independence, Ava now requires a spoon or fork at every meal so that she can eat the food on her tray.  I came downstairs the other day and her nanny had her dressed only in a diaper because she was making such a huge message with pasta and red sauce.  She was incredibly happy to be given full control over her food.  I let her have the independence, but I prefer to keep her clothed.

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  • Last week Ava got a new nanny.  The old one had trouble getting here on time and I couldn’t make early-morning meetings because I never knew whether the nanny was going to flake out on us.  I have a lot of clients on the east coast and the juggling of phone calls and the baby was a constant source of stress.  Fortunately the new nanny is fantastic about getting her on time and I think she’s an even better fit for Ava.  I was worried Ava would be sad about the change, but she’s been much happier this week.  I think the new nanny gives her more attention and is better about understanding her needs.

Foods and Liquids

  • I feed Ava whatever we’re eating for dinner plus a few extra things I know she’ll eat like cheese or goldfish crackers.
  • The other day I had groceries on the floor.  As I was putting stuff away I realized that Ava had reached into the bag and pulled out a nectarine.  She ate half of that nectarine!  Those front teeth are really working for her.

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Sleep

  • Weaning Ava helped a little bit in that she’s not using me as a pacifier all night, but she still sleeps.  She likes to sleep perpendicular to us with her head on one person and her feet on the other.  Lately she’s been waking up in the middle of the night, possibly because of tooth pain, and it’s been a struggle to get her to fall back asleep.

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Language Skills

  • Ava is starting to make connections between words.  I’ve been making animal noises for animals in her picture books.  If you ask her what a snake says, she’ll say “Sssss.”  The other day she was looking at Teddy and she said: “Teddy…dog…woof, woof.”  The girl is a genius!

July 4th Vacation

We took a mini vacation in Heber, UT.  We stayed at a little cabin right by the river.

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The best part of where we stayed is that Sandhill Cranes live in the area.  A couple kept stealing bird food from a feeder in view of our cabin.  The people who filled the feeders somehow didn’t know that the cranes kept coming by for a snack.  They were so confused about why the food kept disappearing so quickly.

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The first time Ava and I saw them we were walking back to our cabin.  Ava growled at them because she’s tough.  If you’re not familiar with cranes, they can be up to four feet tall.  In this picture Ava wanted to make sure that we were aware that there were cranes near us.

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Here are some more pictures that capture the weekend.

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Ava has taken to saying “Go, go” because that’s what people say to Teddy all the time.

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Summer in the City

Salt Lake City has been hot for the past few weeks!  The temperature has exceeded 100 degrees for several days in a row.  We have a window air conditioner unit for the bedroom but the rest of the house relies on a swamp cooler for relief.  Have you heard of this?  It’s so weird and it only works in a dry state like Utah.  The swamp cooler cools the house by pushing out moist air.  If this was New England, the humidity might kill you.

Do you know what’s great when it’s hot?  Pool time!

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Ava has been so hot that she hasn’t wanted to be in the Baby Bjorn or the stroller at night.  Instead she gets pool time and she loves it.  She’s so freaking tough because she loves being in the pool with a sprinkler jetting ice cold water onto her back.  Also, she’s not really a baby anymore.  Who is this tall girl?

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One advantage of the heat is that it’s making the garden explode.  We have six tomato plants and some of them are taller than us.  We’re going to be swimming in tomatoes in a month.

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I’ve harvested the kale five times and you’d never know it, I’ve used one zucchini for muffins, two zucchini for a pasta dish, a jalapeño for fish tacos, and a hot wax pepper for pizza.  The hot wax pepper was awesome but tiny so it only covered half the pizza.  There are three banana peppers growing right now!  I always make a pizza on Sunday and it’s going to be amazing this week.

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By the way, the oranges are an attempt to keep our neighbors’ cats out of our garden beds. It seems to work well as long as they’re relatively fresh.

Happy

Ava has been really happy lately.  I’ve had Friends on in the background lately and when the theme song comes on Ava starts dancing.  You can see almost all of her eight teeth.  She’s trying to cut yet another one, which is unfortunate because she only needs eight.  She also laughs hysterically when you run the food processor.

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Ava continues to get into everything.  I have to close the bathroom door or there will be toilet paper everywhere.  I can’t leave anything on the bench or she’ll tear it apart.

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It’s much easier for Ava to pull herself up to standing.  She can stand with just one hand on something to stabilize herself.  She’s doing a lot more shuffling while holding an edge.  Little by little, she gets closer to walking.

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For months Ava wanted to read books by herself.  But this week she actually picked out a book from a stack, brought it to me, let me put her on my lap, and sat as I read it to her.  It was awesome!

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Ava will stroke my hand, especially at night while she’s drinking her bottle.  I love thinking about moments like that, especially during the day when Ava is too busy for cuddles.

Coming out of The Fog

I was looking at my Twitter feed the other day and I realized that I’m slowly reclaiming life apart from a baby again.  Ava is everything to me, but in general people are pretty boring if they only have one topic they can discuss.  I’m back!  I’m reading tech blogs again, I pick up my cross-stitch at night, I’m thinking about new cooking projects, I’m gardening.  I’m so happy!

 

I went to California for two days last week to meet the people from my new job and to attend an IP conference.  I thought Ava would be very needy once I came back, but she actually seems less needy.

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At this new house the yard isn’t as big as our previous house’s, but the space is used better.  There are three huge raised beds at the back and space all along the right side of the yard.

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Our garden is huge and there are sprinklers installed in the garden beds, which keeps the soil moist.  Our kale is unhinged.  You can see it in the middle back bed.  I’ve already harvested it five times because there’s a cayenne pepper in the middle that is getting eclipsed by the kale and it’s still going strong.  We’re on a barter system with the neighbors so we exchanged kale for a baby/dog bike trailer.

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We planted probably 20 different pepper plants.  Tonight I made fish tacos with the first pepper to be harvested: a purple jalapeño.  The jalapeño was delicious but very mild.  I was cautious because usually jalapeños from the garden are much spicier than grocery store jalapeños.

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The fish tacos also had radishes from our CSA share.  We’re getting 1.5 shares so we’re swimming in vegetables.  We’re eating salads for lunch and dinner every day.

 

We Keep Ava Active

Ava goes everywhere, she does everything!  We’ve taken her to Red Butte Garden.  She had a great time.  She wanted to pull and eat all the flowers so we spent most of our time in an edible garden and in an ornamental grass section.

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Jon got an attachment for his bike, and he can bike with Ava.  Her only issue is that he doesn’t bike fast enough.  She bucks in her seat if he’s too slow.

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Jon installed a swing on our porch.  Ava will become hysterical if you take her out of it too soon.  Be prepared to push it for at least 15 minutes.

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We’ve walked every little nook and cranny in our neighborhood so for our nightly walk we’ve been driving up east to the fancy part of town.  It’s nice to look at different houses and they have a huge park.  We spent maybe 20 minutes in the park tonight and then tried to take a walk, but Ava was upset until we went back to the park.

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Ava Is 13 Months Old

I’m not sure how long I’ll keep doing these, but I think I’ll enjoy going back and reading about Ava’s milestones.  This may be especially informative if we have a second baby.

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Independence/Motor Skills

  • Ava is into everything!  She can pull herself up on nearly any surface.  She is very interested in whatever you’re using, especially if it’s a phone.  She’s taken an interest in trying to pull out plugs so she can touch the metal prong.
  • Ava almost gave me a heart attack when she climbed a full flight of stairs without me knowing.
  • I expect Ava to walk any day now.  She’s started to let go of me while standing so she can wobble for a second before falling down.
  • Ava hates it when I change her diaper.  She’s perfectly happy laying down for diaper changes for her nanny, but for me I have to do it while she’s standing up.  It’s very hard when she has stomach troubles and I have to do diaper changes every few hours.
  • There has been some backsliding in terms of Ava’s independence.  She is often happy to play independently if I’m in the same room, but if I change rooms she’ll cry while crawling after me.  She has great hearing and can detect when you’ve opened the back door; it makes her crazy.
  • I used to do a lot of reading to Ava, but lately she’s preferred to read to herself.  It’s not consistent, though, because tonight she wanted me to read to her for 20 minutes.  That hasn’t happened in months!

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Foods and Liquids

  • I found a food that Ava dislikes!  Raspberries are not her thing.  She also isn’t thrilled with the peanut butter crackers that I bought her last week.
  • She’s eating more food every day.  I can always give Ava at least a portion of our dinner.  I usually have at least one thing I can give her to feed herself and then I can feed her other things.  For example, tonight I gave her peaches and garlic bread to feed herself.  Then I fed her spaghetti from my fork.

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Sleep

  • I just weaned Ava last week so it’s early, but her sleep has been for longer periods of time.
  • The problem now is that Ava doesn’t enjoy sleeping in our bed anymore but she still wants to be near us.  She keeps waking up whimpering and tries to adjust herself until she winds up horizontal, slapping one of us and kicking the other.  So I had to transfer Ava back to the crib, but then she only slept for two hours before I had to get her again and complete the whole painful process again.
  • We moved her crib into our bedroom last night based on the theory that she might be more willing to sleep in her crib if it was touching our bed.  However, she was so cold last night that I let her warm up in our bed after her 2 am wakeup and I fell asleep before I could transfer her back to the crib.  Hopefully tonight will go better.

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Language Skills

  • Ava is experimenting with new words.  Her pronunciation isn’t perfect so I’m not always sure if she said what I thought she did, but I think she called a yellow car “yellow,” she said “woof” at a picture of a dog, and she consistently says “bird” while pointing at a bird flying away.
  • Ava frequently chatters, especially when we take walks at night.  I think she’s going to be one of those non-stop talkers and I can’t wait to know what she’s thinking.

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